Islamism and Democratization in Indonesia Post-Reformation Era: Socio-Political Analysis

By Karim, Syahrir; Mamat, Samsu Adabi et al. | International Journal of Islamic Thought, December 2014 | Go to article overview

Islamism and Democratization in Indonesia Post-Reformation Era: Socio-Political Analysis


Karim, Syahrir, Mamat, Samsu Adabi, Posssumah, Bayu Taufiq, International Journal of Islamic Thought


Islam by its adherents is quite often to be expressed not only as a gospel but also as an ideology. This is driven from a political-religious assumption that Inn al-Islam al-din wa al-dawlah - Islam is a religion and a state at the same time (Efendi 2001). Although this notion is still running out in controversy, it is too easy to find out Islamic movements employing Islam as their own ideology. The controversy can be understood by considering the concept of ideology itself throughout its history has always been controversial discourse both as a framework or even movement. In Islamic world, Islamic movements' ideology plays pivotal roles and functions. Islamic groups such as Ikhwanul Muslimin in Egpyt, Jamàat Islam in Pakistan, and Syarikat Islam as well as Masyumi in Indonesia have originated from the ideology. The concept of Islam as an ideology means that all aspects of life including politics are covered by Islam. Those who revive the formalisation and the implementation of Sharìah laws are included as Islam Ideologies or later on it is called Islamism. This is because that its religious nature and orientation are based on a view of Islam as an ideology reconciling directly Islam with state or politics and also fighting for the ideals of Islamic politics. Islamism can be seen from Islamic party context and Islamic movements which are not parties. Islamization should be done through the direct involvement in social and political activities. For Islamic groups getting involved in politics rests upon Islam as a general and comprehensive system of thought, Islamic society in any aspects of their own life must be in line with Islamic tenets (Masdar 2010).

In Indonesian context, the tendency has taken place, Islamists politics do believe that Islamization symbolically should embodied in politic, whilst for those who emphasizes on the substance of Islamic thought (substantive Islamist) rejects the presence of Islamic parties and symbolising Sharìah by the state. Islamists substantive or liberal (mostly young people who joined with the JIL) reject all forms of struggle to those who want to legalise or formalise Islam within the state. For this groups, the efforts of symbolising Sharìah may be able to damage integration and even will distort the intrinsic meaning of religion. Mixing between religion and politics is not only erroneous but also placing Islam as a simply means of achieving interests for political elites. Conversely, Islamists politics do believe that Islam is a religion that acknowledges the integration. Islam refuses separation between religion and state, world and hereafter, and all kinds of segregation (Syarifuddin 2008). Therefore, those who agree with the separation, according to Islamists politics, considered are secular.

Regarding with the relation between religion and state in Indonesian context, at least there has been three views trying to resolve this matter; e.g. (i), Islam and the state is coexistence, it cannot be segregated. The state is a political institution and a religion as well. State's government is hold based on divine sovereignty. (ii), the state and Islam tend to be mutually-symbiotic relationship. Principally, Islam needs the state because of through the state Islam can be in advance. Otherwise the state needs Islam as an ethical and moral guidance in its development, (iii), relation between the state and Islam is secular. This notion completely rejects Islam as a sole basis of the state.

The Concept of Islamism

As a monotheistic religion Islam has been spread by the prophet Muhammad s.a.w., al-Quran and al-Sunnah become main resources and guidance for ummah in social and political activities. It is not surprisingly that Muslims in general believe that Islam has holistic feature as a spiritual instrument to understand the world. It is quite often recognized that Islam is more than a religion. Thus, Islam based on this argument does not concede the separation between sacral and profane but managing all aspects of life. …

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